God has recently allowed me to understand the beauty of holiness. That is one of the great favors that God has done for me. Of course, although I am not good enough, I have lived a life of pursuing holiness until now. Because of my interest in holiness, I have purchased and read books about holiness whenever I came across such books. I have been steadily building up spiritual discipline that is helpful for holiness. However, holiness has come to me with great burden. This is the reason is that I am not holy.
It is God who knows me best. And the next one is myself. I might deceive other people, but I cannot deceive God nor myself. Looking at myself, I am a person with many weaknesses and flaws. I am a sinner before God. I know that God has given me the grace of justification through Jesus Christ, but I am still a sinner in my life. This is a paradox. I am a sinner, but I became righteous by the grace of Jesus’ redemption. By faith, I was justified freely (Romans 5:1,9). But I am a weak sinner who has to struggle with sins in daily life. For this reason, it was hard for me to stand in front of the word “holiness.”
Preaching about holiness has been a great burden to me. Because it was not proper for me as a preacher, who is not holy, to shout to be holy to other people. But now I am convinced that I should share the word about holiness more often because I have understood something new about holiness.
Firstly, holiness is given to us through Jesus Christ. Our righteousness is like dirty clothes (Isaiah 64:6). However, Jesus died on the cross for our sins and gave us the righteousness of Jesus. What surprises me is that when Jesus gave us the righteousness of Jesus, He also gave us the holiness of Jesus together. Both our righteousness and holiness are from Jesus. Therefore, we should not boast about our righteousness and holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
Secondly, holiness has the meaning of separation. When God chooses to separate whoever or whatever for a special purpose, they become holy. At the moment God chooses and separates us in Jesus Christ, we become holy. That is why the Bible calls us, who were chosen, the Saints.
Thirdly, holiness has the meaning of cleanness. Holiness is not dirty. Holiness is clean. The important thing is that God constantly cleanses us after He has chosen us and called us saints. Just as we clean the dirty body, wash the dirty clothes, and wash the dirty dishes, God cleanses our souls. This process is called the process of sanctification. God has prepared the means of holy grace in order to cleanse us. We are sanctified through the Word (John 17:17). We are sanctified through prayer (1 Timothy 4:5). We sanctified through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 2:13). We are sanctified through training for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). We are sanctified through repentance (1 John 1:7,9). We are sanctified through suffering (Psalm 119:67). We are sanctified through love. We cleanse ourselves when we receive someone’s true love and we truly love someone (1 John 3:1-3). We are sanctified through holy fellowship. (2 Timothy 2:22)
Fourthly, holiness is beautiful. It is not talent or appearance that makes us beautiful. Neither great skill nor ability. It is a holy character which makes us beautiful. Beauty is charming. It is attractive. We are drawn to a holy person. True holiness does not give any condemnation to anyone. It does not despise anyone. Jesus is the Holy One. But Jesus did not condemn anyone. He did not even condemn the woman caught in the adulterous scene. Jesus’ holiness is the holiness that comes together with mercy.
Jesus’ holiness hates sin, but His holiness loves the sinner. Jesus’ holiness rejoices in seeing holy seeds being contained in the sinners. Jesus’ holiness is meek and humble. It is pleasant. Jesus hated the Pharisees who had lived being hypocritical of their own righteousness and holiness. But He loved those who repented regarding themselves as sinners. He gave them endless grace. Holiness is the secret to happiness. Holiness is the secret to beauty. It is the secret to being glorified. (Romans 8:30). Holiness is the secret to keep yourself, your family and your community. May the blessings of God be abundant on the saints who desire the holy character of Jesus.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.